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Legal Director, Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs

Washington, DC
Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
LEGAL DIRECTOR  
Position Description
                  
About the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs works to create legal, economic, and social equity through litigation, client and public education, and public policy advocacy with a primary focus on racial justice. For more than 50 years, the Committee has been on the cutting edge of civil rights advocacy in the region bringing precedent setting litigation to address discrimination. Our work focuses on injustices in housing, employment, the criminal legal system, education, public accommodations, and civil rights of immigrants. We partner with individuals and communities facing discrimination and with the legal community to achieve justice. 
                  
The Committee prioritizes systemic reform litigation and advocacy. While it does engage in limited direct service, that work is designed to advance its change agenda through identification of high impact cases, case aggregation strategies, and community education. In addition, the Committee works in partnership with community-based and grassroots organizations that are led by members of impacted communities. 
 
The Committee has an annual budget of $4.5 million, an engaged Board of Directors, and a talented staff of 28 professionals working collaboratively in a matrixed environment with a push toward a cross discipline team equipped to partner, defend, fight for, and litigate for our region’s communities.
 
For more information on the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, please go to www.washlaw.org.
 
About the Position
The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs seeks an experienced attorney to provide strategic leadership to the organization.  More specifically, the Legal Director will lead an inclusive and iterative conversation around how the Committee advances a demanding and active docket of civil rights and economic justice litigation and policy advocacy, inclusive of our organizational partners and respecting the power of the communities with which we work.  In addition, the Legal Director will lead the process where the Lawyers’ Committee proactively chooses cases that align with and advance the strategic priorities of the organization. In addition to the litigation work, the new leader will focus internally on organizational culture, staff development and professional advancement, and will serve as a key thought partner to the Executive Director and executive team.
 
The ideal candidate is a deeply experienced civil rights litigator with a record of organizational management and leadership success who brings a demonstrated passion for, and experience with, racial justice.  They will thrive inside the organization as they advance a collaborative and equitable culture. They will thrive externally as they work to build and cultivate key organizational and law firm partner relationships.
                  
Responsibilities
The Committee’s litigation is focused on cutting edge civil rights cases involving five core areas:  housing, education, criminal legal system reform (prisoners’ rights, parole, police misconduct, debtors’ prisons, and collateral consequences of convictions/confinement), employment, and public accommodations. The Legal Director will:  
  • Serve as a thought partner with the Executive Director and executive team to guide the strategic direction of the organization, ensure the highest quality legal advocacy, compliance with ethical rules, organizational effectiveness, and strong workplace culture.
  • Collaborate with the Chief Operating Officer on employee relations and human resources.
  • Collaborate with the Executive Director, Deputy Legal Directors, and other staff to develop a docket of litigation and policy initiatives to advance the Committee’s strategic priorities. 
  • Supervise cases and projects. The Legal Director will be expected to directly supervise a portion of the docket and oversee the supervision of the balance of the docket by Deputy Legal Directors.
  • Serve as a key champion of culture, equity, collaboration, and excellence within the organization.
  • Manage all operational aspects of the legal program, including support for grant proposal drafting and reporting and assisting in budget development. 
  • Design, implement, and oversee the performance and professional development of staff attorneys.
  • Serve as a thought leader within the Committee, and the legal community, on civil rights law and policy.
  • Outreach to and recruitment of law firm pro bono resources.
 
Qualifications 
  • Passion for civil rights and racial equity advocacy.
  • J.D. degree and DC Bar membership or ability to waive in to the DC Bar.  Membership in Maryland and/or Virginia Bars a plus.  
  • Significant litigation experience, including work on complex federal cases, preferably including trial work, appellate work, and class actions.
  • Significant experience supervising and mentoring junior attorneys and managing programs and staff.
  • Effective interpersonal and oral and written communication skills.
  • Experience working in/substantial familiarity with non-profit organizations preferred.
  • Bilingual ability (professional fluency) preferred but not required.
 
Compensation
Compensation for this position is $163,000 and includes benefits.

The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs is an equal opportunity employer. Diversity is an essential component of the Committee, and we encourage all qualified persons to apply. Applicants are accorded an equal opportunity for selection without regard to actual or perceived race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibility, personal appearance, matriculation, or political affiliation.
 
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